Simply unmissable, here are 20 things to do and places to visit in Sharjah, UAE.
3 June 2020| Last updated on 8 June 2020
Take a trip to this Northern Emirate using our list of must-see sights.
Sharjah enjoys a diverse, deeply cultural, gastronomic, but modest lifestyle compared to its famous neighbour Dubai. Known locally as the quiet gem and more widely as the UAE's cultural capital, there's actually a lot you can find yourself doing and enjoying in Sharjah.
Here is a good source of travel ideas if you find yourself this side of the country. This lovely city has plenty to offer to its visitors and residents. From interactive art installations to nature experiences, discover 20 places you must explore in Sharjah. Get ready to fill up your itinerary!
Note that timings may change due to the current situation.
20. The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization houses a wealth of ancient and historical artifacts from Islam's history and its followers. This immersive museum is perfect for history, culture, and religious buffs as it offers the chance to learn more about the social and scientific discoveries and contributions made by the region's ancestors.
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday (8:00 AM - 8:00 PM) and Friday (4:00 PM - 8:00 PM)
Tickets: Children (2-12 years old): AED 5 / Adults (13+ years): AED 10 / People of Determination, public and private school trips, elderly (60+), infants and toddlers (less than 2): FREE.
Entry is free during Ramadan, Martyr's Day, and UAE National Day (December 2).
19. Maraya Art Centre
The Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, formerly the Maraya Art Gallery, is a non-profit creative organisation where visitors are welcome to explore the latest art exhibitions, library video archive, workshops, talks, lectures, and other art events.
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm (Saturday to Thursday) and 4pm to 7pm (Fridays).
Al Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah
18. The Sharjah Maritime Museum
Visit the Sharjah Maritime Museum to learn about the Emirate's fascinating marine history and heritage. The museum is also a great place to learn just how much the locals' lives were influenced by the sea, from the development of coastal cities spanning thousands of years to pearl diving and the diversity of Sharjah's marine life.
The museum hosts an aquarium, perfect for families.
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday (8:00 AM - 8:00 PM) and Friday (4:00 PM - 10:00 PM)
17. Sharjah's University City
This impressive collection of universities, colleges, and research centres occupies such a massive compound that it's practically its own city within a city.
Sharjah's University City is a great place to walk among some of the country's most brightest pupils. The architecture is an attraction of its own, as the American University of Sharjah can be compared to the famous Taj Mahal.
16. Arabian Wildlife Centre
Arabia's Wildlife Centre is home to several animals, including Arabian leopards, some endangered species, the UAE's national animal the Arabian Oryx, and other rare animals.
You can visit the Arabian Wildlife Centre in Sharjah's Desert Park.
15. Sharjah Desert Park
Don't be fooled by its name, the Sharjah Desert Park also has a beautiful Islamic Botanical Garden. One of the most popular places in the Emirate for families, the park features a children's area with a petting zoo and summer activities.
14. The Island of Legends
Over 26 thrilling rides, places for picnics, and exciting attractions await families and friends at the Island of Legends in Sharjah. You can find all of these in Al Montazah.
13. Al Rafisah Dam
If you're seeking something further away from the city, the stunning Al Rafisah Dam offers a serene getaway. Here, you'll find a large, clear lake where you can book a boat and enjoy the views of the majestic Hajar mountains.
The water reservoir is joined by green landscapes and a man-made waterfall. There is also a mosque, children's play area, rest area, supermarket, parking lot, and restaurant with a lake view.
This place is ideal for outdoor and nature enthusiasts.
12. Mleiha Visitor Centre
Another great spot to visit for history lovers, the Mleiha Visitor Centre is where you can unearth the Arabian Peninsula's history of early mankind. Expect archaeological sites, tombs from the Bronze Era, the history of the ancient Bedouin civilization, and fossils.
Trekking, dune bashing, quad bike riding, desert safaris, glamping experiences, hiking, and even paragliding is available at Mleiha.
11. Bait Al Naboodah Museum
Built in 1845, the Bait Al Naboodah Museum is set in a beautiful courtyard with walls made from coral. The two-storey house gives an insight to the local forefathers' timeless traditions and architectural designs, with its grand entraceways, carved decorations, and wind catchers.
Visitors can learn about the life of the prominent pearling family who once owned the charming home, and the ingenuity of Arabian architecture.
10. Date Souq
Tour this Sharjah market filled with farm fresh dates, with the traditional fruit available from as little as AED 10 to AED 150. The Date Souq is the best place to taste the Arabian fruit symbolic of hospitality and culture.
9. Blue Souk or Central Souq
Sharjah's Blue Souk is a fantastic place to visit if you're shopping for one-of-a-kind local handmade goods, carpets, clothes, exotic jewelry, and artifacts. The site is one of the Emirate's most photographed buildings, due to the dazzling blue trims and being featured on the UAE's five dirham-note.
The Blue Souk has over 600 shops across two floors, so you're bound to find something here. Some of the skilled craftsmen at the Central Souq can even recreate a design based on just a sketch.
8. Rain Room
The Rain Room in Sharjah is a marvelous addition to the city's modern arts scene. This unique, permanent installation offers a magical experience for its visitors where you are enveloped in water but you will never get wet.
The interactive art installation uses 2,500 litres of self-cleaning, recycled water as well as trigger sensors to pause the falling water whenever there's human movement in the room.
7. The Kalba Birds of Prey Centre
Fans of the magnificence of predatory birds will enjoy this wildlife centre in Sharjah. The Kalba Birds of Prey Centre welcomes visitors to explore the Bedouin tribes' centuries-old tradition of hunting with predatory birds.
The centre is home to protecting and a variety of birds of prey species such as eagles, vultures, buzzards, owls, and falcons. You can also find free-flying demonstrations, showcasing the birds' strength and capabilities in a wildlife landscape.
6. Al Noor Island Butterfly House
Walk through this beautiful sanctuary of butterflies, which will make for a fairytale-like experience. The Al Noor Island Butterfly House in Sharjah is temperature and humidity-controlled.
It's home to over 20 species of butterfly, such as the exotic Tailed Jay, Pink Rose, and Emerald Swallowtail. There's heaps of fun, family-friendly things to do at this butterfly house in Sharjah, from watching newborn little critters take flight and spotting camouflaged butterflies.
5. Khorfakkan Beach
A serene, 3-km long stretch of a crescent-shaped beach, Sharjah's Khorfakkan Beach is a great place for water leisure and adventure activities. One of the most popular spots in the city, you can explore the cool waters for a relaxing float or enjoy the thrill of a boat or jet ski ride.
There are several fishing spots, as well as areas for scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing near Shark Island.
4. Kalba Beach
Sandwiched between Sharjah and Fujairah, Kalba Beach is a 7-km long area that is also popular among residents and visitors.
You can spot endangered and rare wildlife here. Just off the Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve, you can find the mangrove forest teeming with Sharjah wildlife, such as the hawksbill turtles.
It is also the only place in the UAE where the endangered Arabian-collared kingfisher can breed safely.
3. Sharjah Discovery Centre
Perfect for kids, the Sharjah Discovery Centre is a unique stop for edutainment and other fun activities for those between three to 12 years old. Here, children can explore seven themed parks that will feed their imagination and development.
They can take part in amazing science and design experiments, drive mini-electric cars, challenge themselves with the climbing walls, and much, much more.
2. Sharjah Classic Car Museum
Admire Sharjah's one-of-a-kind museum dedicated to classic car lovers. Here, you can admire over 100 classic cars from the early 20th century that have been expertly and lovingly restored to their near-original splendor.
For kids, there's also an interactive area with a driving simulator and interesting puzzles.
1. Sharjah Mosque
Opened in 2019, this grand structure of faith that can accommodate over 25,000 worshipers is Sharjah's largest ever mosque. It's well worth a visit just for its stunning design, from the lush gardens and water fountains to the uniquely Islamic-style domes, columns, chandelier, and carpeting.
The Sharjah Mosque has areas for non-Muslim visitors, which includes its massive library rich in Islamic books and antiques from different eras.